|This article relies on references to primary sources. (June 2010)|
|Founder(s)||Emil Wilhelm Richterich|
|Key people||Felix Richterich (President & CEO)|
|Products||Cough drops, breath mints|
|Revenue||300.8 Million CHF (Swiss Francs) (2010)|
Ricola Ltd./Ricola AG is a well known manufacturer of cough drops and breath mints in Switzerland. The company focuses primarily on using herbal ingredients. The head office of Ricola is located in Laufen, Basel-Country.
Ricola's history began in 1930 when Emil Wilhelm Richterich established Confiseriefabrik Richterich & Co. Laufen after the purchase of a small bakery in Laufen, just outside Basel. Under Richterich, the bakery specialized in confectionery such as “Fünfermocken," a sweet which was similar to caramel. In 1940 Richterich created Ricola's Swiss Herbal Sweet incorporating a blend of 13 herbs. In the 1950s the sweet became appreciated for its ability to be dissolved in boiling water, creating an aromatic tisane or "herbal tea", which inspired Richterich to create a Ricola Herbal Tea a few years later.
In 1967, Emil Richterich and his sons Hans Peter and Alfred renamed the company Ricola, an abbreviation of Richterich & Compagnie Laufen. Export began in the 1970s, introducing Ricola's products to foreign markets. At the end of the decade, Ricola moved to a new purpose-built factory in the vicinity of Laufen, where its headquarters are still located.
In 1976, after extensive research on sugar-free confectionery, Ricola launched Switzerland’s first chewable, sugarless herbal sweet. Ricola first started to advertise its products on television in the 1980s, an era that saw increased awareness of the need for good dental hygiene, increasing the demand for sugar-free products such as the ones that Ricola offered. In 1988 the company started packaging their products in small boxes.
The company is now managed by Felix Richterich, son of Hans Peter and grandson of the founder. Today, Ricola exports to over 50 countries in Asia, North America and Europe.
While the active ingredient in most Ricola products is menthol, an important part of Ricola products is the herb mixture. The following herbs are noted as being part of Ricola's classic blend of 13 herbs:
- Elder (Sambucus nigra)
- Horehound (Marrubium vulgare)
- Mallow (Malva silvestris)
- Peppermint (Mentha × piperita)
- Sage (Salvia officinalis)
- Thyme (Thymus vulgaris)
- Cowslip (Primula veris)
- Burnet (Pimpinella saxifraga)
- Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
- Marsh Mallow (Althaea officinalis)
- Lady's Mantle (Alchemilla vulgaris)
- Speedwell, aka Veronica (Veronica officinalis)
- Plantain (Plantago lanceolata)
In the United States, ten herbs make up the herbal mixture, three of which are not in the above list. These are Linden Flowers (Tilia platyphyllos), Wild Thyme (Thymus serpyllum) and Hyssop (Hyssopus officinalis).
Ricola listed sales of 300 Million CHF (Swiss Francs) in (2010) and employs 400 workers. Around 200 independent produce companies in the surrounding area service Ricola. In order to obtain enough herbs for the production of its herbal drops, the firm contracts over 100 self-managed farms in the Valais, Emmental, Puschlav and at the southern foot of the Jura mountains, in central Switzerland and in Ticino. Ricola is known for its commercials featuring Heidi (Ramona Pringle) depicting mountaineers shouting "Ri-co-la!" and blowing through a large Alphorn.
Ricola offers several herb drop flavors (both with sugar and sugar-free) containing essential oils, natural flavoring and some products offering Vitamin C supplements.(color of the pack)
The following are available in US market:
- Ricola Cough & Throat Drops
- Original Herb / Natural Herb (yellow with plants)
- Honey Lemon with Echinacea (pink)
- Lemon Mint (yellow)
- Honey Herb (orange with honeycomb)
- Cherry Honey (cherry red)
- Dual Action - *new 2011 (cherry red/black)
- Ricola Sugar Free Cough Drops
- Mountain Herb (yellow with plants on white)
- Green Tea with Echinacea (emerald green on white)
- Menthol (blue on white)
- Lemon Mint (yellow)
- Cherry (cherry red)
- Ricola with Vitamin C
- Mixed Berry (dark red/violet)
The following products are available in Switzerland: Original Herb, Lemon Balm (hard herb drop and pearls), Sage, Eucalyptus, Sea Buckthorn, Elder Blossom (hard herb drop and pastilles), Cranberry, Blackcurrant (pastilles), Peppermint (pearls), Orange Mint, Herb-Honey,Verbena and Mountain Mint.
Since 2008, Ricola has also offered the chewing gum flavors “Wild Mint”, “Lemon Balm”, “Alpine Fresh” and “Spearmint”. The chewing gum contains herbs from the Swiss Alps. Chewing gum flavors are all sugar free and are available exclusively in Switzerland.
Ricola also produces teas and tisanes. Today, instant tea flavors available in Switzerland are Elder Blossom, Lemon Balm, Herb Tea and Good Night Tea. In 2007, tea bags were also introduced in the flavors Herbs, Swiss Mint, Verbena and Lemon Balm.
Ricola herb gardens
Ricola has six show gardens in Switzerland. Visitors to the herb gardens can learn about the original herbal blend in their natural environment and learn all about the cultivation and power of herbs. The gardens can be visited as tourist attractions and are located at the following locations:
- Nenzlingen, nearby the company headquarters.
- Trogberg, a mountain in the canton of Solothurn.
- Klewen Alp in Beckenried.
The herbs used to produce Ricola's cough drops are not cultivated in these gardens, but in natural plantations in the Swiss mountains in accordance with strict organic or BioSuisse guidelines. Ricola ensures that its cultivation areas are not situated near industrial sites or the road networks to avoid contact with harmful pollutants. Over 100 self-managed farms are under contract to Ricola in the Valais, Emmental, Puschlav and the Jura Mountains, in Central Switzerland and Ticino. No herbicides or pesticides are used in herb cultivation.
The company has won several awards:
- “Most Trusted Brand" in 2008, 2010, and 2011 by the readers of Reader's Digest
- “SwissAward 2010” – Felix Richterich (VR-President) was awarded a distinction for the business category
- “Power Brand 2010”, among the top 20 Swiss brands, the Brand Asset Valuator by Young & Rubicam
- Public prize of the Swiss Packaging Institute award 2008
- “Best Taste Award 2008” awarded by the International Taste and Quality Institute (iTQi) in Brussels, Belgium
- “the EFFIE prize” (gold medal) in Germany 2000 for the Ricola campaign Finland / Australia
- "Contact." Ricola. Retrieved on 18 February 2010.
- "Ricola Website".
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